Biographies

Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars

Book cover: 'Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars'
Author(s): 
Brendan Larnen, O.P.
Milton Lomask

St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the most beloved and revered saints of all time - both for his holiness and for his intellect. This accessible chapter book (from the Vision book series) gives a good overview of the "Angelic Doctor's" life with an emphasis on some of his most important philosophies and ideas.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Book cover: 'St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox'
Author(s): 
G.K. Chesterton

This little book is interesting. It is NOT the definitive work on St. Thomas. It is NOT a primer on his philosophy. It is an interesting mix of: a story of his life (or rather stories from his life), a little taste of his genius, another taste of what his ideas mean to the world (including how relevant they are today) and ideas about why he was the way he was.

It does not seem adequate to compare it to a TV show but it reminds me of one of those really good PBS documentaries that gets you totally involved in something you didn't ever think was that big a deal.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Author(s): 
Raissa Maritain

Despite its humble appearance, this biography of Saint Thomas Aquinas is a real gem. The story is told as a real story should be told, full of miracles and detail without becoming preachy, yet it is simple enough for the children it was written to instruct. The rich vocabulary hints at an original copyright in the early 1900s and may be challenging to a young independent reader. You may wish to read this book aloud to the under-8s or beside an 8-9-year-old to be sure of comprehension.

The Quiet Light

Book cover: 'The Quiet Light: A novel of St. Thomas Aquinas'
Author(s): 
Louis de Wohl

Disclaimer: best suited for high schoolers due to an incident where Thomas Aquinas is tempted by his brothers when they bring a prostitute to his room one night. Also, there are a few quick references to 'wenches' .

The dust jacket reads that the "theme of this novel was suggested to Louis de Wohl, in a private audience, by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII in 1948". The Quiet Light was printed two years later.

The Little Flower

Book cover: 'The Little Flower: The Story of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus'
Author(s): 
Mary Fabyan Windeatt

I have not yet read this story, but my daughter read it to herself and enjoyed it very much even though she already read St. Therese and the Roses.

St. Therese and the Roses

Book cover: 'St. Therese and the Roses'
Author(s): 
Helen Walker Homan

Therese Martin (1873 - 1897) was the youngest of five girls growing up in a devout Catholic family in France in the late nineteenth century. We all know how, in just over one hundred years she has become one of the most beloved Saints in the Church and has recently been named "Doctor of the Church" by Pope John Paul II. This is the delightful and moving story of a little girl who became a great saint; of five sisters who were all called to religious vocations.

Little Therese

Book cover: 'Little Therese'
Author(s): 
Adapted from Pere J. Carbonel, S.J.

This biography of St. Therese of Lisieux for children emphasizes the story of her childhood, her simple spirituality as taught to her by her family with an emphasis on the little acts of sacrifice she made and how that helped her to develop control of her will. The story includes many details of Therese's childhood and family life that Catholic homeschool families will relate to. It is told in a way that encourages young children to offer little sacrifices to God in imitation of this saint. I was particularly amused to hear that St.

God's Little Flower, the Story of St. Therese of Lisieux

Author(s): 
Chris Driscoll
Illustrator(s): 
Patrick Kelley

St. Therese of Lisieux is a very popular saint whose life story is easily understood by children. While not full of action and adventure, her life story's simplicity and sweetness are appealing to even the most worldly of children. This lovely picture book, with its carefully chosen vocabulary and sentence structures, is written on a level that will allow a 3rd-grade and up child to read it for himself or herself. The full-page illustrations are attractive, colorful, simple, and modern in style, adding to the story rather than overwhelming it.

Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart

Author(s): 
Francis X. Connolly

The lovely story of the 16th century priest and saint of Rome whose joy brought many away from the evils of the day. He patiently bore a great deal of emotional persecution from some fellow priests, but eventually won his tormentors over to the love of Christ. Many insights into the meaning of a vocation and how to spread the joy of Christ.

Joan of Arc

Book cover: 'Joan of Arc'
Author(s): 
Mark Twain

Saint Joan of Arc is one of the most astonishing saints of all time. Prayerful, as all saints must be, humble, generous, and patient, Joan served God by leading the armies of France to boot the English from their soil in 1431. Not a usual task for a girl in her late teens, saint or not. And afterwards, to make it perfectly clear that the English were engaged in an act of godless aggression, Joan was burned as a witch after a trial that was unjust, illegal and cruel in every detail.

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